Traffic law violations like speeding or running a red light are common traffic offenses, yet they can cause major inconvenience because of costly fines and can even lead to lasting difficulties if the violation warrants driving record points.
While a lesser traffic offense will usually end with a ticket and a fine, more serious traffic offenses like reckless or aggressive driving could be charged as a criminal offense and could lead to imprisonment and license suspension or revocation. In Georgia, traffic offenses are considered criminal misdemeanor offenses.
Police in the four primary counties comprising Atlanta (Fulton County, Cobb County, DeKalb County, and Gwinnett County) produce over 400,000 traffic tickets annually.
Points on a driving record can cause issues with employment and insurance. Misdemeanor charges or even felony charges could have a lifelong impact and can lead to trouble at home with loved ones and at work from the burden of being unable to operate a vehicle or having to spend time in jail.
With so many possible repercussions, it is invaluable to have an experienced Georgia defense attorney who can negotiate effectively to reduce the charges and sentencing for a traffic violation. An Atlanta traffic lawyer will know how to defend your case and protect your rights to try to resolve a traffic violation in your favor.
Common Traffic Violations
Traffic law enforcement initiatives like Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic (H.E.A.T.) and the Thunder Task Force in Atlanta aim to identify and reduce aggressive driving. This includes driving at high speeds or while under the influence. One lapse in judgment on the road, such as texting while driving, running a yellow light as it turns red, or drifting into another lane—can lead to legal consequences, and depending on the situation, a minor offense could be upgraded by law enforcement to carry more serious penalties, especially if a driver is frustrated and becomes uncooperative.
Traffic offenses could lead to driving record points, hefty fines, and even jail time if they are considered aggressive or reckless. Typical traffic violations that warrant the attention of a traffic attorney in Atlanta may include:
- Improper stops, turns, signaling, or lane changes
- Failing to yield right of way to emergency vehicles
- Impeding traffic flow
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Failing to maintain lane
- Texting while driving
- Driving with a suspended license or registration
- Driving without a valid license
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving with an open container of alcohol in the vehicle
These are just several of the possible traffic violations for which a driver in Atlanta may be stopped by law enforcement, but the list is extensive and the sentences vary greatly according to the situation. Each factor in a traffic violation case is important because of the nuances in the law.
The differences between a regular traffic violation that entails a fine and a traffic violation that is considered criminal are subtle, making an encounter with law enforcement on the road stressful and overwhelming. A conviction for a traffic violation is penalized as a misdemeanor with fines, reinstatement fees, possible jail time, volunteer service hours, driving record points, and license suspension. In the case of a felony charge that results from reckless driving, such as vehicular homicide or serious injury by vehicle, a person may have their license revoked for a period, may spend over a year in prison, and will have a criminal record following them for life.
Trying to fight the law alone can sometimes be futile or even make things worse, which is why a traffic violation for reckless or aggressive driving that is charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense should be handled with the help of an Atlanta traffic attorney who can determine the right way to proceed for a more favorable outcome.
Consulting with a Traffic Attorney
While traffic violations happen often, a conviction for a traffic violation that is a misdemeanor or a felony is not something to be taken lightly or dismissed, as the repercussions can have a lasting impact. If you are currently facing charges for a traffic violation, an experienced Atlanta traffic lawyer can defend your rights and negotiate on your behalf to achieve a better outcome for your case.